Today I’ve been in a pretty good mood – the sun has been shining, I had an Italian test which went swimmingly despite my utter lack of attention span when trying to revise, and I went formal dress shopping with a couple of friends from Italian and bought the most gorgeous dress I have ever owned.
So, to celebrate my positivity, I’ve decided to share with you a short list of what I consider to be some of the simplest but best things in life. Sometimes it’s good to write down these sort of things so that you can look back when things aren’t going quite so well and realise that there’s always these little pleasures from which we can seek solace.
1. Lazy days
There are few things better than, once in a while, throwing obligation to the wind and simply cosying up with a duvet, books, films, a cup of tea or whatever else floats your boat. For extra comfort, I suggest adding trackies and a jumper or hoodie that feels like a cuddle from a happy grandma. I find having days like these to be extremely refreshing and they help my mental wellbeing immeasurably, especially when feel-good food and drinks (personally, I favour the likes of chocolate, smoothies and green tea) are added into the mix. When life is hectic, sometimes all we need to do is distance ourselves from the daily grind and clear our minds.
2. The increase in sunny days as spring approaches
Maybe this is exaggerating a little, as being from Scotland, we rarely see multiple sunny days in the same week, but the sunny days as chilly winds slip into cooler breezes really are beautiful. It’s undeniable that the weather affects your mood, and for me, when the sun finally shines after a bleak winter, I feel so uplifted and hopeful that more carefree days are to come. I suppose this is because we associate the sun with summer, and summer with freedom from school, university and work, and therefore the sun reminds us that soon we’ll have the chance to properly relax with no coursework, exams or deadlines looming over us.
3. Having a totally clean and tidy room/flat/workspace
Looking at the state of my room 90% of the time, you would question why I have included this on my list. However, despite my tendency to let my living conditions get a little…er…chaotic, shall we say, I actually take immense pleasure in polishing, hoovering, air freshening and organising until my room is spotless. There are few things more pleasing to me than not having to navigate complex routes from one side of my room to the other.
4. Quality family time
I realise some people don’t have the best relationships with their families (for those people, quality time with friends is pretty much the same), but personally I adore mine. I have always been close to my family, but since starting university, I believe we have grown so much closer. It’s not something you would necessarily expect to happen, what with most students moving away from home for university, but in my experience I’ve found this means I don’t take them for granted nearly as much as I did before. I enjoy being independent – cooking my own meals, going places according to my own schedules and whims – but it’s always amazing to go back home and appreciate the comforts of family life. I especially love seeing my little brother grow up – it’s always exciting to hear about what he’s been up to between my home visits. Now that I’m pretty much an adult, I find that my parents treat me as an equal and we can discuss things on a more mature level than ever before. Being treated this way constantly reminds me of how much I can always rely on their emotional support.
5. A good mug of hot chocolate
Who doesn’t love hot chocolate? Okay, maybe people who don’t like chocolate at all or are lactose intolerant, but on the whole, hot chocolate is my all-time favourite comfort drink. It warms you up, it helps you sleep and it really is just like a big, sweet hug in a mug. If I don’t have any sweet snacks in the flat, I’ll make myself a hot chocolate and all my cravings will be whetted. I make mine the following way: 1 tbsp hot chocolate powder (my favourite is Twinings), 1 tsp granulated sugar, and a mug full of milk on top of that. Heat on high in the microwave for around a minute and a half, take it out, stir it, and then put it in for another minute or so. For extra yuminess, you can add all sorts of extras: a drop of vanilla essence, a sprinkling of chilli powder, cinnamon, whipped cream, marshmallows, a couple of squares of chocolate melted into the drink…the possibilities are endless!
I could probably list a lot more of life’s little pleasures, but I’m sure you get the gist. I recommend everyone takes time to reflect on what little things make them happy – it’s a real eye-opener, to realise that it’s not necessarily big achievements that make life worth living.